30 Memorable and Inspiring Jimmy Carter Quotes

In honor of Jimmy Carter, take a look at the quotes that made the 39th president such an impactful leader.

Jimmy Carter, the 39th U.S. and longest-living president (he is currently 99 years old!), is known for lots of things. A Georgian peanut farmer turned president, Carter’s profound ideals and advocacy of peace, environmentalism, human rights, and more, have made him one of the most admired global leaders of our time.

In February, the Carter Center announced that Jimmy Carter has entered home hospice care at his Georgia home. To honor the words of a president that has transcended the world, we’ve rounded up some of the most memorable Jimmy Carter quotes.

  1. “We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace. We can make these changes—and we must.”
  2. “The bond of our common humanity is stronger than the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices.”
  3. “To be true to ourselves, we must be true to others.”
  4. “You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can.”
  5. “Like music and art, love of nature is a common language that can transcend political or social boundaries.”
  6. “Sometimes we face potential failure, and we have to remember to try any way to find a way to reach our goal. We can overcome many global problems and build a better world if we all work together as a community.”
  7. “I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”
  8. “My position has always been, along with many other people, that any differences be resolved in a nonviolent way.”
  9. “Tremendous progress can be made if we persevere through difficult challenges.”
  10. “It is good to realize that if love and peace can prevail on Earth, and if we can teach our children to honor nature’s gifts, the joys and beauties of the outdoors will be here forever.”
  11. “Failure is a reality; we all fail at times, and it’s painful when we do. But it’s better to fail while striving for something wonderful, challenging, adventurous, and uncertain than to say, ‘I don’t want to try because I may not succeed completely.”
  12. “Wherever life takes us, there are always moments of wonder.”
  13. “In our democracy, the only title higher and more powerful than that of president is the title of citizen. It is every citizen’s right and duty to help shape the future legacy of our nation.”
  14. “I believe that anyone can be successful in life, regardless of natural talent or the environment within which we live. This is not based on measuring success by human competitiveness for wealth, possessions, influence, and fame, but adhering to God’s standards of truth, justice, humility, service, compassion, forgiveness, and love.”
  15. “Let us learn together and laugh together and work together and pray together, confident that in the end, we will triumph together in the right.”                                         Former President Carter Works On Habitat For Humanity HomesErik S. Lesser/Getty Images
  16. “A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained.”
  17. “We are of course a nation of differences. Those differences don’t make us weak. They’re the source of our strength.”
  18. “Each of us citizens, especially in a democracy, must examine ourselves—individually and as a nation—to see how we can improve. We do this not with condemnation, but constructively.”
  19. “Unless both sides win, no agreement can be permanent.”
  20. “We have to inspire our children and grandchildren to take on challenges and risks that at first may seem to be overwhelming, or even impossible. They need to understand that the only failure is not trying.”
  21. “We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.”
  22. “We have a tendency to condemn people who are different from us, to define their sins as paramount and our own sinfulness as being insignificant.”
  23. “When people are intimidated about having their own opinions, oppression is at hand.”
  24. “Earlier in my life, I thought the things that mattered were the things that you could see, like your car, your house, your wealth, your property, your office. But as I’ve grown older I’ve become convinced that the things that matter most are the things that you can’t see—the love you share with others, your inner purpose, your comfort with who you are.”
  25. “Women are key agents of the changes we need.”
  26. “Ours was the first nation to be founded on the idea that all are created equal and all deserve equal treatment under the law. Despite our missteps and shortcomings, these ideals still inspire hope among the oppressed and give us pride in being Americans.”
  27. “I think the basic elevation of peace and human rights to the top of our priority list will submerge war and animosity and hatred and persecution to a very low level.”
  28. “We generally fail to realize… that all the major religions have the same basic principles. Everyone professes to believe in peace, professes to believe in hospitality, professes to believe in caring for those in need, professes to be generous with our time and with our money to others who are in desperate states.”
  29. “When I reflect upon my blessings during my very nice lifetime, I am inspired to make sure that I spend the balance of the days of my existence in a productive way.”
  30. “But I owe my deepest thanks to you, the American people, because you gave me this extraordinary opportunity to serve. We have faced great challenges together. We know that future problems will also be difficult, but I am now more convinced than ever that the United States—better than any other nation—can meet successfully whatever the future might bring.”

Next, check out these iconic photos of a young Jimmy Carter that tell his life story.

Jessica Kaplan
Jessica Kaplan is an assistant editor who has written lifestyle content for Reader’s Digest, Family Handyman and The Healthy. Her expertise includes travel and restaurant news. These days, she creates timely trend content for Taste of Home. When she’s not writing, Jessica is bound to be planning out her next trip, trying out a new coffee spot or listening to a podcast.